First of all, let's flash back to August's primary, and look at the breakdown of "Dem vs GOP" votes with a map from the incomparable J. Miles Coleman of Decision Desk HQ (and if you're not following Coleman tomorrow, you need to do so).
With just a few votes out in the #WIGov primary, Democrats cast about 9% more votes than Republicans. In addition to their bases in Milwaukee & Madison, Dems were pretty strong in the Driftless Area (the region bordering IA & MN). #WIPrimary pic.twitter.com/orRMBVQQC9— J. Miles Coleman (@JMilesColeman) August 15, 2018
Notice the preponderance of Dem votes in the southwestern part of the state. Given that many of the most flippable State Senate and Assembly races for Democrats are in the Driftless Area that Coleman describes, as well as other areas around Eau Claire, that region seems to loom large tomorrow. It also explains why I've seen many Dem Assembly members doing their "door-knocking" selfies in that area of Wisconsin.
The August map was similar to the pattern we saw with Rebecca Dallet's blowout of Michael Screnock in April's Supreme Court election, except that Dallet also did very well in northeastern and north central Wisconsin.
Rebecca Dallet wins the #WisconsinSupremeCourt race by about 11%. Compared to 2016, the *only* county where she ran under both HRC and Feingold was Menominee. She did slightly worse than HRC in Milwaukee & Waukesha, but improved YUGELY everywhere else. pic.twitter.com/lmiH92zeDl— J. Miles Coleman (@JMilesColeman) April 4, 2018
I'd anticipate the Dallet map to be similar to what we see tomorrow with the Vukmir-Baldwin Senate race, if Baldwin is to win by 10 points (as polls have indicated). Perhaps it'll be a bit lighter blue or pink around Green Bay and Appleton, and there might be a few other differences due to turnout patterns, but you get the idea.
The other maps showing the shifts are also worth keeping in mind, because a big question to be answered comes from the oddities of the 2016 election. The area of the state where Hillary Clinton really lost the state was in Northern and Western Wisconsin, where she lost areas that Barack Obama and even Mary Burke had won, and lost them by a lot. That was summed up well by this meme'd tweet after the April elections.
If you then— Brendan Cohen (@B_W_Cohen) April 4, 2018
don't you dont
love me deserve me
at my at my pic.twitter.com/CZNIFZ5Qn0
Looking back to Walker's last statewide campaign in 2014, two big things played into his 5.7% victory, as this map indicates.
1. He destroyed Mary Burke in the WOW Counties, getting over 70% in every each of those counties, won Washington County by a whopping 53 points, and gained over 92,000 votes in Waukesha County alone.
2. Walker rolled in the 920 area code - winning often-blue Winnebago County (Oshkosh) by 11%, Brown County (GB) by 17%, Outagamie County (Appleton) by 20%, Manitowoc County by 25%, Sheboygan County by 28%, and Fond du Lac County by 29%.
Evers has to improve from Burke's numbers in those places. And recent elections indicate that improvement is possible. Among many weird things in the 2016 election in this state was the fact that Donald Trump actually did significantly worse than Walker did in 2014 in those places. Trump's margin of victory was 12 points less than Walker's in Washington County, 19 points less in Waukesha County, and 22 points in Ozaukee County.
The question is whether the move away from the GOP was a one-time thing due to Charlie Sykes and company telling their sheep not to support Trump, or if it's a more permanent shift by better-educated suburbanites that are done with the anti-education and often-thuggish GOP. If Evers can split the difference between 2014 and 2016 in the WOW Counties, he likely wins tomorrow.
And the votes in 2018 also show that Northeastern Wisconsin has been more amenable to Dem/liberal candidates, which culminated in Caleb Frostman winning an open Senate seat in the farthest corner of the state. Frostman is running for a full term this Fall, and the Appleton-area showdown between Roger Roth and Lee Snodgrass will also likely go a long way toward determining which party controls the Senate after Tuesday. The Congressional race between Dan Kohl and Glenn Grothman has also been hotly contested, which at least means there has been a Dem presence where one usually has not existed in that part of the state. If Evers can stay within 10 points in that 920 area code, it will be near-impossible for Walker to win statewide.
Lastly, I want to see if it's possible for Evers and Baldwin to run up even more of a lead in Milwaukee and Dane Counties. Hillary Clinton won Milwaukee County by 10 points more than Burke did in 2014, and won Dane County by 7% more than Burke. Remarkably, the 2018 elections have shown an even HIGHER advantage for Dems in those two population centers. 72.6% of Milwaukee County voters chose Dems in the August primary, and a whopping 84% of the August primary vote in Dane County was for Dems. Both are several points higher than Clinton's already-large share from 2016.
Combine that with big early vote numbers from the City of Milwaukee and twice as many early votes in Dane County vs 4 years ago, and if the Election Day vote comes through, Evers already will have a notable advantage.
Obviously, there's a lot that can be unknown, and I still have fears that not enough polls have taken the Guv's election out of the rigging zone. But if things are on the up-and-up tomorrow, this will be some of the things I will be looking for as the votes come in tomorrow night.
Please choose wisely, Wisconsin. Just once.